Love Like Adam Foundation set to start college hazing prevention presentations
This is all part of a new state law passed in memory of Adam Oakes
LYNCHBURG, Va. (WWBT) - On Saturday, the Love Like Adam Foundation is set to start their first in-person hazing prevention presentation in front of hundreds of students and parents at the University of Lynchburg.
The presentation is part of a new state law called “Adam’s Law,” which passed through this year’s General Assembly. Part of this new law requires colleges in Virginia to provide hazing prevention training to current, new and potential new members of student organizations about “hazing, the dangers of hazing, including alcohol intoxication.”
The law was passed in memory of Adam Oakes, who died from alcohol poisoning while he went through an underground pledging process for the Delta Chi chapter at Virginia Commonwealth University in February 2021.
Courtney White, Oakes’ cousin, said she pulled a group of educators with over 15 years of experience to help create the presentation for colleges across the commonwealth.
“We created a large group presentation, which is what we’re doing in front of universities and then we also created a K-12 curriculum on hazing,” White said.
White said the K-12 unit is a curriculum they hope to implement in a local school division in the Northern Virginia area soon.
Before launching their presentation, White said they got feedback from a group of 10 students from various universities in Virginia along with parents and a local school division official.
“Some of the universities were interested in the resources, so I sent the resource out meaning the presentation out and then some want us to actually come and facilitate, which is what we want because we created it and we know the back story,” White said.
During the presentation, White said they not only want to emphasize Adam, but the other hazing victims in Virginia.
The presentation will also go over the definition of hazing and the reasons behind this.
“When it occurs, why it occurs, the psychological reason people haze, the psychological reasons you allow yourself to be hazed,” she said.
White also adds the presentation will go over bystander intervention, alcohol poisoning, and a video explaining what happened the night Adam died.
Towards the end of the presentation, there will be a panel with Eric Oakes, Adam Oakes’ father, and three of the Delta Chi members who pled guilty to their roles in connection to Adam’s death last February.
“It’s going to be an opportunity to Q and A with the audience, so parents and students in the audience will be able to ask the boys questions about how hazing has impacted them, how Adam’s passing has impacted them,” White said. “I think that truly is going to be impactful because that hasn’t been done anywhere else. You don’t hear of the hazers actually coming and sharing their stories, but these colleges and universities will get to hear first hand from the hazers in Adam’s passing.”
White hopes these presentations will shed more light on the dangers of hazing and provide more resources she said her cousin should’ve had.
“I hope they get exactly what Adam should’ve gotten, exactly what he needed when he was down there,” she said. “We’re teaching them the signs to identify this early, so that way you can intervene and get them help.”
For White, she hopes these presentations will honor her cousin’s legacy and keep his memory alive for generations to come.
“I truly think that if we can save at least one life, doing what we’re doing right now, then we’ve done what we came to do and we’ve helped people and we’ve helped other families not face the same things that we have,” White said.
Eric Oakes also said their goal is to highlight other Virginia students who were hazed, their situations, and how others can intervene and save a life.
“We also have other students that were hazed in Virginia and we also have information in our presentation about them, so it’s not just 100 percent about Adam, but about what he didn’t have that night, and what he needed and bringing awareness to your surroundings.”
Another piece of Adam’s Law will require colleges to maintain and publicly post hazing violations reported from student organizations online.
The Love Like Adam Foundation plans to do these presentations at Randolph College on Sunday and another at UVA Wise on Sept. 6.
The foundation also reached out to all the colleges across the Commonwealth to do this presentation.
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